Two countries buy hundreds of Israeli Merkava tanks

ميركافا مارك 3

40 years after they entered service in the Israeli army, hundreds of Merkava Mark I, Merkava Mark II and Merkava Mark III tanks are expected to be sold to two foreign countries, including for the first time to a European country. The tanks have fallen out of use in recent years, and have been stored in warehouses – but after the start of the war in Ukraine and renewed demand for armored fighting vehicles, they were tested and found suitable enough for sale.

Israeli media sources reported that one of the Israeli symbols will be exported to Europe for the first time: 40 years after entering service in the Israeli army, old Merkava tanks manufactured in Israel are expected to be sold soon to two foreign armies, reach Europe, and continue to serve despite their advanced age. .

The US Department of Defense should soon approve the sale of hundreds of Merkava Mark 2 and 3 tanks that were manufactured in Israel in the 1980s and 1990s and decommissioned in recent years to two foreign countries, one of them in Europe, in the wake of the war in Ukraine. This is the first time Merkava tanks have been sold to a European country.

The Ministry of Defense did not specify the names of the two countries that agreed to purchase more than 200 used Israeli tanks in light of the sensitivity of the process, but the deal is about to be finalized and is expected to take place within about three months. Defense Department officials said that because some of the mechanical parts in these tanks are US-made, especially the engine, approval from the Department of Defense in Washington is required to carry out the deal.

It is estimated that the scope of the deal will run into tens of millions of dollars for all the tanks, an amount that will go into state coffers and likely be transferred directly to the defense establishment. This amount is insignificant compared to the purchase of new Western tanks. About a decade ago, the Ministry of Defense offered a foreign army to purchase the new “Merkava Mark 4” tank, off the production line, for nearly four million dollars per tank.

Merkava Mark 3

Additional details indicate that the two deals will be split – the first will include the older Merkava Mark 2 tanks and the other the Merkava Mark 3 tanks that entered service in the 1990s and mainly served the fighters of the 188th Brigade. In recent years, these tanks have been discontinued and today all three regular armored brigades – the 401st and 188 and 7 – Equipped with advanced Merkava Mark 4 tanks with an effective anti-tank missile defense system, and computerized command and control systems.

Some of the regular tanks were transferred to the reserve brigades, especially those with less experience, including the 10th Brigade in place of the tanks. However, there are still more than 200 tanks in the maintenance depots of the Israeli army. Initially, the defense establishment was pessimistic about the possibility of a foreign military buying it, and consideration was given to the possibility of selling it to iron recycling contractors. But with the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine last year, the security needs of European countries are changing. Initial interest in used tanks really started in the middle of last year and the Ministry of Defense rushed to check the condition of the old tanks, finding them serviceable enough to sell.

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Written by rfrfx

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